Review camera bag RICHARD by Carsten Bockermann (DE)
Oberwerth Richard - A field report
A little over a year and a half ago I tested the Oberwerth Munich camera bag and reported on it. It was the first time I published a report on equipment, as I actually prefer to discuss pictures. On the other hand, I have a particular weakness for photo bags, which some of my friends already call crazy, and I wanted to share my impressions with my readers.
Now that feeling has come back after trying another bag.
As you can see from the previous report, I really liked Munich. The closure straps attached to the lid of the bag were an exception. This construction means that you always pull down the whole bag when you close it with one hand. I discussed this with the people from Oberwerth. I was promised to think about it.
That's what happened (at least I tell myself it was my influence). You have introduced a new line of bags called the Casual Line. On the other hand, there is the Classic Line, which also includes Munich. The counterpart to this bag in the new product line is the William. Since I already have several bags of this size, I decided on the new Richard, which is about 2cm larger in each dimension.
The big surprise came when I unpacked the bag. The Oberwerth company is very proud of the leather that they use for their bags. And that, I found out, absolutely right. The smell of the leather, the look and especially the feel are in a class of their own. I realize that you can't measure that objectively, but it gives the impression of excellent quality and craftsmanship. Incidentally, the leather is produced in a very environmentally friendly process using plant extracts.
And indeed: The bags in the Casual Line have now attached the straps with the LOXX fasteners at the bottom. So you pull the bag up when closing, which makes the process much easier. As I wrote in my report about Munich, I like the LOXX fasteners not only for their attractive design, but also for their ease of use and the fact that they can be operated silently, unlike Velcro fasteners, for example.
The inside of the Richard can be completely removed if you want to use the bag as a messenger bag, for example. The division can be tailored to the requirements of the respective equipment with soft dividers. I discussed my idea with an expert from Oberwerth and a few days later I received the right room dividers that fitted exactly. If you are seriously interested, I recommend looking at the packing examples on the manufacturer's website and then calling for advice over the phone to find the optimal configuration.
As I said, the Richard is a bit bigger than my earlier bags including the Munich. The extra centimeters are very useful when I take the Fuji XF 50-140 / 2.8 lens with me, for example. Even on an X-Pro2 or X-H1 with the additional 1.4x converter, the lens fits upright in the bag without any problems.
Like my other Oberwerth bag, the Richard is very comfortable to carry. In the spring I was in Rome to photograph an Elvis Presley actor at the papal general audience. One day I ran 26km through the Eternal City with two Fuji X-Pro2s, six lenses, a flash unit and accessories in my pocket. No problem.
One thing is actually a little more impractical about the Richard than about the bags in the Classic Line: it has no handle. The soft leather is not ideal for attaching one to the lid, and it would not really match the simple and elegant overall impression of the bag. The good news is that Oberwerth's product managers actually listen to what their customers tell them. So they came up with a very practical idea. There is now an optional handle that you hook onto two metal rings and the shoulder strap. It is made from the same leather as the bag and can simply be folded back or removed when you don't need it.